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Book Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd you go, Bernadette : a novel

From Worldcat: When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.

I checked this book out because it’s my library’s current “On The Same Page” selection. Where’d You Go Bernadette might actually be two books. Not literally, but after reading it, I felt as if the tome in my hands possessed two distinct (possible mutually exclusive) directions. The first part reads like humor writing (think Lisa Lutz or David Sedaris or one of those coffee table books written by comedians with sitcoms). Events are extraordinary and personalities are hyperbolic. The second part goes deeper  into why some of the events and personalities are the way that they are (and what leads up to Bernadette going missing). The second half of the second part of the book describes what happens after Bernadette goes missing, and frankly, I feel like it was too sentimental and maybe a little bit disappointing.

Not to say that the book was a waste of time! It was super clever, took to dimensions that not a lot of books take (a lot of it is told through emails and letters, but not in a draggy way), and was full of ideas that felt pretty fresh. It might not change your life– but after reading it in a couple of sits you won’t feel like you wasted precious moments of your life. I didn’t, at least.

get it at the library!


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